I share the opinion that birth is a well designed natural process for the female body. There is nothing to over medicalize when it comes to birth for a healthy woman. Women all over the world have healthy babies through natural birth, and before the advent of the relatively young field of conventional obstetrics, natural birth was the only option.
Of course, there are exceptions. What is brilliant about modern day Midwifery is that Midwives individualize child birth for all the women they work with. One of my Midwives would tell me “Some babies are meant to be born at home, while some babies are meant to be born in the hospital.” Midwives want women have a safe and healthy delivery of their infant. Depending on the unique prenatal health of mom and baby, along with the course of the labour, Midwives are trained to facilitate the safest delivery.
The decision to have a home birth is different for everyone. I’ll share my experience in a little bit. However, for those interested in reading more about home births, click the links below to read more about birthing at home.
*Note: Midwifery care in Ontario is covered by OHIP. This is different in the USA where, in some states, midwifery care is not covered.
My Home Birth
I planned a home birth for my first son. Like I mentioned earlier, some babies are meant to be born at home, and some are meant to be born at the hospital. I came to realize this in an unexpected way when my first son’s delivery hit some snags, which lead us to the hospital for his birth. Thankfully, all went well, I had a healthy baby and life moved on as I brought my new baby home.
When we found out we were expecting our second child I kept an open mind about the delivery. I didn’t want to make any set plans about having a home birth because of my first birth experience. Also, birth is a tremendously challenging life experience for the body, mind and spirit of the woman doing the birthing. It presents all the emotions that a human is capable of experiencing all at once. Joy being the predominant emotion once the baby is born, but during the labour it is possible to experience apprehension, especially as the going starts to get tough. I have to admit, I felt fearful of complication presenting themselves during birth #2 in the last few weeks of my pregnancy and this made me cautiously optimistic about having a home birth. I knew a home birth would be possible for me as long as the labour progressed normally, however I am human.
In the early morning hours on the day that my second son was born, my labour started at home. I stayed in the comfort of my bedroom with the room dimly lit by a lamp. I felt calm and undisturbed. There was no frenzied rush to get out the door and no anticipatory anxiety. There were no bright lights, machines, starchy gown, unfamiliar workers coming in and out to watch me. Instead, with my husband by my side, we timed the contractions and called our Midwife, Mylene, when the contractions were happening more frequently.
Mylene arrived with a quiet presence and a medical supply back pack that was almost as big as she was! As my labour progressed, and the contractions intensified, I could move around my room so I could best manage the contractions. As I did this, Mylene would periodically check the baby’s heart beat with a portable doppler. In addition to medical supplies needed for a normal childbirth, she also set up emergency medical equipment just in case it was needed. The midwives come very prepared! My husband set up a little portable pool that was provided to us by our Midwifes.
I love water, and I made use of the pool. The warm water was very relaxing and it helped me feel calm at certain points along the way.
As we neared the time of birth, our second midwife, Ali, arrived. Mylene would care for me and Ali would assist her and then care for the baby once he was born.
The environment in the room remained calm as the labour progressed. My husband was at my side giving encouragement and helping me stay focused. Mylene also stayed near me through the whole time. As the labour became more difficult, she would reassure me and guide me through. She would give me my space, and continue to periodically monitor me and the baby’s heart beat.
This sounds lovely, and it was, however my birth, as all births, was physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually challenging and exhausting to a degree that I cannot even describe. However, in all it’s challenges, it was supportive to have a serene setting to keep me feeling comfortable and secure while I navigated through the difficult parts of the labour.
For me, even though a natural birth was THE hardest thing I have ever done, I felt a tremendous amount of inner strength and trust in my body’s ability. It was such a profound experience. To be completely aware of every sensation, and to be an active participant in the birth of my son was amazing. I had to be fully and completely in the moment. I’ve never been so centered in my life. Looking back, I realize how I pulled my mind, body and spirit together in those final moments.
I am so fortunate to have had both the hospital and home birth experience. They were both enriching experiences and most importantly, two healthy babies were born!